(Carl Saunders, trumpet and flugelhorn; Pete Christlieb, tenor sax; Andy Martin, trombone; Bob Efford, baritone sax; Christian Jacob, piano; Kevin Axt, bass; Santo Savino, drums -Special guest: Sam Most, flute and baritone sax)
Carl Saunders is thought by many to be the supreme trumpeter on the West Coast. Based out of Los Angeles, and quite active in Las Vegas, Saunders is a brilliant lead trumpeter and improviser. He has been given the pleasure of bringing back some “lost” charts that were commissioned to Bill Holman by saxophonist Ted Richardson. The Holman charts were written in the early 80s but for some inexplicable reason sat dormant for over 20 years. One wonders why – but who is complaining – since anything that Holman tackles both swings hard and is inventive.
Saunders has the privilege of having the cream of the crop of LA sidemen, including his tenor buddy and recording partner, Pete Christlieb, on tenor sax. Andy Martin and Bob Efford complete the front line and Saunder’s drummer, Santo Savino, provides the percussion propulsion needed.
Six out of the ten tracks are Holman compositions and classics like Gillespie’s Ow and Kern and Mercer’s Dearly Beloved get the Holman treatment. Written for a septet, Holman includes calypso readings of Mahogany Run; a gorgeous ballad for Christlieb in Dearly Beloved; a showcase for Andy Martin’s trombone mastery in We’ll Be Together Again; and a feature for veteran flutist Sam Most on Hannibal. Saunders has many highlights but I especially liked his ballad feature, Primrose, where Sam Most also gets quality time.
The combination of brilliant song writing and arranging of Bill Holman combined with an all star band led by Saunders makes this CD a must buy.
Tracklist: Three Little Words, Ow, Mahogany, Primrose, Dearly Beloved, The Hook, We’ll Be Together Again, All Too Soon, Doctor Deep, Hannibal, Scratch
– Jeff Krow